Chapter 472: The Soul of the Bridge of Immortal Treading!
Despite that, Meng Hao’s body was still transformed into a statue of ice. He stood there motionless within the layers of ice; the only thing he was capable of focusing on was ensuring that his mind was not exterminated. However, the vortex on his right arm suddenly exploded with intensity.
Meng Hao could feel the force of the Earth-type power rising up within the vortex. The gravitational force seemed inexhaustible; in fact, you could even say that it approached the point where it could exterminate the power of the Frost soil.
As for Zhixiang, she was an Immortal Divinity who had possessed a physical body. However, at this moment her level of weakness was not much different than Meng Hao’s. The Sword Qi avoided her, but she too fell down and instantly became an ice statue. The main difference was that she could hold out for much longer than Meng Hao.
Up above, the boy standing next to the old man smiled and said: “…. one hundred.”
In the exact instant that his voice rang out, Han Shan’s one hundred thousand clones finished exterminating all the Bridge Slaves in the area.
However, it was at this moment that suddenly, within the aura of bitter cold, one figure after another began to appear. These figures were none other than the Bridge Slaves that Han Shan had just slain. They… reappeared with no injuries at all. Not a single was dead.
In fact, when Meng Hao looked out from within the ice statue at the Bridge Slaves, there was one girl who looked familiar.
“So, do you understand?” said the old man coolly.
Han Shan stood there, taciturn. With a bitter look on his face, he lifted up the alcohol flagon and took a drink.
The next person to speak was not the old man, but rather, the boy. “In my world, if you exercise faith in me, you will never die, can never be slain. Isn’t that a good thing? Eternal life. Indestructibility. The only requirement is that you rebuild me.”
More voices rang out, not those of the boy, but rather, from the surrounding Bridge Slaves, all in unison. It was almost as if all of these Bridge Slaves were one person.
“Exercise faith in me, and you can life forever!
“Exercise faith in me, and you can never be destroyed!
“Exercise faith in me, and you can exist with Heaven and Earth!
“Exercise faith in me, understand my Dao. My Dao is your Dao….”
Next, the old man, the boy and the Bridge Slaves all spoke together.
“I am the spirit of the Bridge of Immortal Treading. You came here three thousand years ago to prostrate yourself before me. You made a promise to me. You wanted everlasting life, limitless life force so that you could cultivate your Solitary Sword Song.
“At that time, you had only ten years of longevity left. My response to you was that you should exercise faith in me…. However, you… went back on your word!” The last three words came out in a roar of endless fury, filled with madness.
“You clearly consented, then went back on your word, all because of the woman who was with you. She begged and pleaded with you to change your mind. Her persuasion distracted you, and then what she did… made you go back on your promise!
“I never imagined that in order to ensure that you would never exercise faith in me, she suddenly would shout out those very words, right in front of you. She became a Bridge Slave….
“That was what woke you up….”
The voice thundered up to the Heavens, roaring and echoing out in all directions. Han Shan’s face was pale and he coughed up a mouthful of blood. This blood was not because of an injury he received; rather, it was from the intense, violent pain he felt in his heart. His memories suddenly opened up. He saw an image of his wife at his side, begging and pleading, grabbing ahold of his robe as she tried to persuade him.
But he was obsessed. He wanted eternal life. It wasn’t until he saw her walking away in front of him, that he… became clear-headed.
“I’ve thought about it a lot for the past three thousand years….” sighed Han Shan. He lifted his head, and his eyes were filled with decisiveness and determination. He began to walk forward.
The instant he began to walk, the Bridge Slaves around him began to roar, and once again charged toward him. As they did, Han Shan took a deep breath. His azure sword roared, and of the one hundred thousand clones around him, ten thousand disappeared.
His sword swept about, causing the Frost aura in the area to rise up. In an instant, millions of Bridge Slaves were frozen in place.
When this happened, much of Han Shan’s hair suddenly turned white and he grew older. This sword move was the Solitary Sword Song which he had created himself. This song was not something that anyone except him could hear. It was sung in his heart, something only he could enjoy, only he could hear.
The song could only be sung once in a lifetime. That one song did not burn of life force, but rather, took life force and merged it into the song, creating a solo of life!
“My choice that year was a complicated one, and in many ways irrational. It was as if I was bedevilled….” As he strode forward, Han Shan waved his sword again. Ten thousand more clones disappeared and more Bridge Slaves became statues of ice. As of now, his hair was completely white.
At the same time, Han Shan’s aura exploded up. Because of his solo of life, his Cultivation base and his life force, all exploded up.
Meng Hao had no idea what realm Han Shan’s Cultivation base was in, but as of this moment, his level of power completely exceeded anything that Meng Hao could comprehend.
Life… is simply about how time flows.
Life… is summed up in ten sword blows!
“Later, I wanted to understand if it was really because of your summons….” Han Shan said lightly, walking toward the mountain. He waved his sword a third time. It whistled out, and the frost was unable to block it. It slammed into the mountain, causing the entire thing to shake. The faces of the old man and the boy suddenly flickered.
As for Han Shan, his hair was beginning to fall out, and his body was old and decrepit. He was now far from being middle-aged; he was an old man, his skin sagging and covered with wrinkles. He was no longer majestic and heroic in appearance. However, his eyes and his will were more resolute than ever. They were filled with stubbornness and a lack of regrets…. Even if it meant walking to his death, he would rescue his wife!
“I regret ever bringing Xue’er here…. I originally came with her so that both of us could acquire everlasting life….” His voice was soft as a fourth sword swept out. The names on the mountain were growing dim; the palace on the mountain top was quaking, and cracks appeared on its surface.
“Han Shan, what are you doing?!” cried the old man, his expression bursting with fury and viciousness. Next to him, the boy also wore a savage expression as he glared at Han Shan.
Meng Hao watched on silently from within the ice statue. The vortex on his right arm was madly sucking in the Frost soil. His majestic Cultivation base was slowly beginning to rise up. As this happened, he looked at Han Shan and saw what could only be described as a persistence that would shock Heaven and Earth.
Such persistence was like faith.
“What is my persistence like?” thought Meng Hao.
“I will never forget what happened that day…” said Han Shan. His fifth sword swept out with power to rend the Earth. When it landed on the peak of the mountain, a roar filled the air and the boy was slain.
The boy was filled with disbelief as he transformed into ice. The last thing he heard before his consciousness disappeared was a voice that, despite seeming on the verge of death, was calm and terrifying.
“I also pondered why you called me here,” said Han Shan. “Back when I completed my Solitary Sword Song, it started to snow. My whole world was frozen over. Everywhere my sword touched, became ice. Then I understood. Then, some old memories came to me….
“I am the Frost Soil Demon Emperor!” A sixth sword blasted out. The boy’s head was completely lopped off, and the palace exploded. Cracks appeared on the mountain top. By now, Han Shan looked ancient; he was surrounded by a thick death aura, and his entire body was withered.
“More accurately, I am his clone. Countless years ago, I was able to evade the pursuit of the Ji Ancestor. I lived in the world of mortals for countless generations until I finally understood it.” His seventh sword descended and the mountains peak began to shatter into pieces. The old man was shaking, and his eyes filled with dread.
It was at this moment, when the mountaintop shattered, that two butterfly Demon Spirits flew out from within, seemingly birthed from the destruction of the mountain. They fluttered in the air as they shot off into the distance.
No one paid any attention to the butterfly Demon Spirits. Han Shan didn’t, the old man didn’t. Not even Meng Hao paid them any attention. Only Zhixiang noticed, but she was locked in ice, and could do nothing but watch as they sped off into the distance.
“I don’t care what your goal is. I only want my wife back.” An eighth sword descended, chopping into the mountain, slashing toward the old man’s body.
The old man seemed to have no inclination to block or fight back against the sword. However, as the sword neared him, the space in front of him suddenly began to grow blurry, and a woman appeared to stand in front of him. She looked up at the sword, and then at Han Shan.
Han Shan suddenly stopped in his tracks. The sword ceased moving. Everything seemed to disappear; the only thing he was looking at was this woman.
She was not consummately beautiful, but rather, exceedingly gentle. She gazed down at Han Shan.
“I won’t go with you,” she said softly. “Nor can I go. I am a Bridge Slave. Starting that year, I became a Bridge Slave for all eternity….” She looked somewhat confused.
“When will the Bridge of Immortality reappear like new…? Sir, on what day will we again lay eyes on you…?” As the woman’s murmuring voice echoed out, the old man began to vanish. As he did, he looked calmly at Han Shan.
“I am the soul of the Bridge of Immortality,” he said. “All of the Bridge Slaves are a part of me. If I give up my memories of this time, then when I die, your wife will become the new Bridge Soul.
“There is no enmity between me and you. All of this was part of our mission, to restore the Bridge of Immortal Treading. Originally, you should have been the Bridge Soul. That is why the esteemed Demon Emperor hid you all those years ago. Now, however, the task will fall to your wife.
“My mission is complete, although not perfectly. My task was to find you and bring you back. This was the final command of the esteemed Demon Emperor before his death: find you, and make you a Bridge Slave.” With that, he faded away.
The instant he disappeared, the confusion in the woman’s eyes faded away. Her eyes were now clear. She saw Han Shan, and recalled her old memories. This was perhaps the first time since she had chosen to become a Bridge Slave, the first time in her everlasting life, that she suddenly saw everything clearly.
With a bitter smile, she looked at Han Shan.
“Kill me, allow me to be released….”
Her words echoed out. When Meng Hao heard them, and saw what was happening, he sighed.
The clearness only lasted a moment. In the moment when a Bridge Slave becomes the Bridge Soul, the Bridge Slave would have one moment of clearness. After that moment, the Bridge Slave would be awake and conscious, but would no longer be the same person they were before.
That person would be the new soul of the Bridge of Immortal Treading.